This week we've spent a lot of our time helping companies make their business websites more responsive and mobile friendly. As technology has grown from desktops to mobile smartphones, tablets, laptops and e-readers the need for more optimized sites is becoming more important not just for the screen sizes but for search as well. With our search engine optimization packages we are seeing more visitors to business websites from mobile and smaller screen sizes than ever before.
Businesses that understand the need for an effective website are taking ownership and working with their marketing and web design companies to achieve a more comprehensive experience for each device that connects to their website. Businesses that take advantage of this evolving shift are better prepared to engage with customers. Along with this change we are also seeing businesses utilizing and enhancing not only their websites but using search engine and social media services that we offer as a complete package to help drive more visitors to their site.
According to the PewResearch Internet Project, as of January 2014:
- 91% of American adults have a cell phone
- 55% of American adults have a smart phone
- 32% of American adults own an e-reader
- 42% of American adults own a tablet
- 44% of cell owners sleep with their phones next to their bed
In 2013 consumers did 40% of their Black Friday traffic and 1/3 of their Cyber Monday traffic on mobile devices. This is an increase of 4% from 2010 numbers. Although the holidays aren't around until many months from now we have already started several efforts for companies wanting to further take advantage of this growing trend.
With all of the numbers of devices connecting how is your business working with these devices? Are you strictly making the assumption your visitors fit into a single category or are you striving to provide the most robust experiences to all of your site visitors? Every website we've built or assist in their web process is built for the desktop experience. Many websites though can gain further viewership by embracing the tablets, mobile and e-reader devices. Below we've outlined a few key items to keep thinking of as you enhance your site from the desktop only world to a more responsive and mobile world.
Simplify your site
Having a site that covers everything, including the kitchen sink, is great for your desktop users and some tablet devices. As the screen sizes shrink removing the content that doesn't fit a specific screen size. For example, having created dates, authorship, footers, homepage sliders, etc. may not fit a mobile layout. Most mobile users want to get their information and move on. Desktop users also want their information but are more apt to stay and read more than mobile users due to the size of the screen.
Along with the overall simplification of your website you need to think about data entry. We find this to be one of the least thought of aspects when it comes to responsive designs. Even a simple form on a desktop with five or six questions can seem overwhelming on a mobile device. Not because the questions are harder to understand but do too many having to use on-screen keyboards that further shrink the user's experience. Limit the amount of text entry you require of your site visitors when using mobile devices.
With a desktop screen you will have screens that are thousands of pixels wide. On a mobile device it could be only a few hundred pixels wide. Having a responsive layout that resizes to the devices you want to target is key to your sites success for a mobile device. You can easily drop a single line of text for each page that will make your desktop experience shrink from those thousand pixel to the hundred pixel sizes. The downside to this approach is your site users will have to zoom in and out just to navigate your website. This is less than an optimal approach.
When you go to a smaller size you will notice that you don't have as much space to brand the experience your visitors see. You want to make certain that the experience a user gets on the desktop flows seamlessly to all of your other devices. When someone looks at your mobile web experience they should be able to easily feel at home on your site as they would on your desktop experience.
We always look at having plenty of whitespace on our desktop views so as to not clutter and confuse site visitors. The same is true on mobile devices. You may not have as large of screens but shrinking everything to fit everything a desktop experience would have can make your visitors want to run and not come back as you've lost the legibility of your website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Having a mobile experience for your users is important but don't forget your search engine optimization (SEO) as part of your overall strategy. Your visitors will be using search engines on their mobile devices to find you just as they do on desktops. This is where doing “local search” can come more into play than anywhere else. When doing searches on mobile devices they can provide your geographic location to further help and improve your search results. Making certain you are found on the correct local search sites is becoming more important than ever.
As mobile becomes as prevalent of a business need as search engine and social media marketing keep in mind the need to tie your search engine and social media strategies together. JM2 Webdesigners is here to help you not only with your desktop, smartphones, tablets, laptops and e-readers web site needs but your social engine and social media strategies with our plans designed to specifically help your business succeed when you use them.